CATEGORY: Enterprise Portals

REVIEWER: Terry Simpson, chief technology officer of Entrada Software, Inc.

BACKGROUND: Entrada Software, Inc. is the developer of Kinnosa, a complete software solution for driving continuous innovation and improvement of processes and products in the global extended business enterprise. Kinnosa is the management foundation for setting and controlling broad business and operational goals. Uniting people and processes across functional orientations and agendas, Kinnosa is the platform that links activities and performance. Kinnosa's software solution collects and organizes key business measures, applies analyses, and delivers results and performance controls targeted explicitly to the crucial people and systems across the extended business enterprise. Discrete manufacturers who seek dramatic improvements in time to market, B2B supply chain efficiencies and customer relationships use Kinnosa to build and manage their extended enterprise throughout the supply chain.

PLATFORMS: E-Portal Suite including E-Portal Framework from Viador is operating on Solaris 7 and Windows NT.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Workers in manufacturing enterprises are being buried under mountains of data created by many systems. Kinnosa's Interposit assembles this data, transforms, enriches and synchronizes it. Information is analyzed against business policies, practices and trends, and reported to a targeted group of users. We use the Viador E-Portal Suite and the E-Portal Framework to build a completely personalized interface to deliver targeted Kinnosa content to specific users. This includes not only unstructured content such as documents, links and images; but also structured data from the Interposit. The E-Portal Suite provides us with a publish-and- subscribe framework that frees workers from data mining and monitoring, and delivers concise content the instant it is available; a portal explorer to organize, navigate, publish, subscribe, share, copy and delete information in the Interposit; security management to authorize and authenticate internal and external users; and a highly scalable solution that can support thousands of users.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The E- Portal Suite is performing up to our expectations. By using tools provided in the E-Portal Framework, our development staff has been able to focus on core competencies. This has allowed us to leverage Viador as an extension of our own development team helping to bring our products to market sooner.

STRENGTHS: The E- Portal Suite provides an environment for rapidly developing and deploying enterprise portals that can be completely customized to the meet business requirements. It is built on proven technology and, using a master-slave methodology, it can be scaled incrementally to support thousands of users.

WEAKNESSES: While the product is viable and built on proven technology, it is still rapidly evolving which can be problematic. However, as the market for enterprise portals matures, the E-Portal Suite should be positioned to become a leading product choice. A second major weakness is Viador's use of the older Java 1.1 JDK. The use of this older library causes performance issues and limits the total functionality that the framework can natively provide. (Java 2 JDK will be included in the next version scheduled for release in Q3.)

SELECTION CRITERIA: A major reason for selecting Viador is their product direction. They are providing tools and are not attempting to provide an out-of-the-box solution. We were looking for tools that provided a basis for information delivery and organization. We also needed a product that could provide native access to several data sources and handle both structured and unstructured data types.

DELIVERABLES: Viador E-Portal Suite provides a framework and tools for building very custom enterprise portals.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The pre- and post-implementation support from Viador has been outstanding. When you are customizing a product to the extent that we are, you end up getting very deep into the internals. Viador has been there to support us at every point. The best part of the relationship with Viador has been their responsiveness and their willingness to listen and take input from us.

DOCUMENTATION: The user documentation is very complete and easy to understand. It is very easy to operate the product using this documentation. Documentation for the APIs and Frameworks has lagged in the latest product release creating some issues for us. The work-around for this problem has been provided through the excellent support of the technical support staff at Viador.

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